NO on Proposition 92

    Illustration by Lars Ingelman

    Proposition 92 seeks to grab K-14 education — particularly
    the community college system — a big chunk of change in preparation for the
    tight-budgeted future. The problem is, while funding education should be a top
    state priority, the numbers just aren’t adding up and California’s
    most important programs are all feeling the sting of budget cuts. This instance
    of special interest-driven ballot box budgeting helps only a subset of
    students, and would place an extra burden on the California State University
    and University of California systems as they deal with an extra $70 million of
    lost revenue in the already tight fiscal future.

    Supporters of Proposition 92 argue that by lowering costs
    for community colleges, the measure provides a valuable educational gateway to the
    middle class. But this ignores a glaring financial problem: By decreasing fee
    revenue without raising taxes or offering any other method to balance the loss,
    the proposal would create a massive funding deficit in a sector already being
    severely slashed. Unless all of the state’s students stand together to bear
    cuts equally, community colleges — which already charge the country’s lowest
    tuition costs — stand to see an unnecessary gain by crippling their higher
    education sister institutions.

    Though supporters have a point — community colleges give
    struggling high school graduates a pathway to four-year universities and
    provide many adults with important career instruction — this proposition is
    financially unrealistic and blatantly irresponsible, and would build upon a
    dangerous precedent of education earmarking. It’s a fair assessment that K-14
    schools need more support, but shorting the UC and CSU systems for community
    colleges is not the way to solve the state’s education woes.

    By locking up approximately $300 million annually for K-14
    education while simultaneously throwing away $70 million of community college
    fee revenue, Proposition 92 would create a deadly funding sinkhole, placing an
    unmanageable burden on the CSU and UC systems. The idealistic initiative
    provides neither a counter to the monetary loss it implies nor a method for how
    the additional $300 million will be spent.

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